Christmas Under $100: 2013
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I’ve been itching to show you guys what I gave everyone for Christmas this year, but I didn’t want to blow any surprises. Now, that all the presents have been opened, it’s finally safe to share.
I always strive to do Christmas for $100. That includes both gifts and stocking stuffers. Here’s how I did this year:
My daughters pine after all the pretty patterned duct tape and washi tape when we see it in stores, so I used my Office Depot rewards to buy a bunch. Total cost: $0
The Rainbow Loom craze has hit our house, so I snagged these glow-in-the-dark bands at Five Below. They were $5 for three packs, so I bought three, and divided one of the packs. They’ll each be getting 450 bands.
They’ve both been talking about getting a case to sort and store all of their bands, so I was psyched when I spotted these at the Dollar Tree. I used a 10% off coupon on Customer Appreciation Day, so I got them for $.90 each. Total cost: $1.80
I snagged these black legal pads at a yard sale for $.25 each. They’re brand new, and should be lots of fun to draw on with gel pens or metallic Sharpies.
My daughters are all about decorating their lockers this year, so these letter magnets were a good yard sale find at just a quarter a piece. Pretty lucky that they had the letters I needed.
And now on to the gifts that we picked out especially for my oldest daughter, age 11 and as crunchy and artistic as they come ..
My husband spotted this art portfolio at a yard sale for $3, and grabbed it up. It’ll be nice for my daughter to have a place to store her art projects. Now, I’m on the lookout for another portfolio for my youngest daughter.
Hair chalk was high on my daughter’s wish list this Christmas. I did a bunch of research and settled on this set for $18. There were cheaper sets out there, but lots of reviewers complained that they stained clothing. This set is supposed to have a built in sealer that prevents that. We shall see. To lower the cost, I put $10.50 in bank rewards towards the cost.
I spotted this hardback journal on the clearance rack at one of our favorite thrift stores. It’s brand-new, from Disney and was just $.50. Sold!
I was tempted to keep this giant clothespin for myself, but I think it’ll make a fun desk accessory for my daughter. It was $1.99 at Goodwill.
I got some killer deals at CVS during last year’s after-Christmas sale, and this maze globe was among them. Everything was 75% off, so I got it for $2.49, and paid for it with ECBs. Total out-of-pocket cost: $0
My daughter is big into these athletic shirts right now, so I snapped up this red one for just $.33 at a rummage sale. It’s brand new (that dark area is a shadow from the camera, not a stain).
Last week my daughter begged me to let her buy an Aero tote that she found at a yard sale, but I said no because I knew that I had this American Eagle tote on tap. I got it for free when I helped clean out a rental property.
Moving on to my youngest daughter, age 9. She’s a fashionista and a girly-girl, so her wish list was totally different from my oldest daughter’s…
Every time we’re in a thrift store, my daughter checks for navy striped shirts. She still hasn’t found one, so I was thrilled when I spotted this striped tank on the clearance rack at JCPenney for $1.97. I figure she can layer it when it’s cold and wear it by itself in the summer. Of course, I’m no fashionista, so we’ll see what she comes up with.
When I placed an order for my daughter’s Junior Girl Scout uniform earlier this year ($41.25), the shipping was going to be $7.95 (which would have brought my total up to $49.20). They had a free-shipping-on-$50 promo going on, so I decided I’d rather put the shipping money towards merchandise. I hit the clearance section, and spotted this polo shirt for $3.99 (originally $28). Since I would have spent $7.95 for shipping, I’m not counting this in my Christmas total.
My daughter is crazy about American Girl dolls at the moment, so when I spotted American Girl clothes in a junk box at a yard sale, I got busy digging. I snagged all of these items (some American Girl, some Journey Girl) for $2. I’m amazed that they had all of the matching shoes and accessories still. She is going to be so excited!
After nine years, her baby blanket is in shreds. I found this patchwork blanket with flannel backing in a junk shop for $8, and fell in love with the turquoise pom poms and the overall color scheme. I’m hoping this will become her everyday blanket, so we can retire her other one while there’s still something left to save.
This blue and white canister came from the same junk store. Blue is her color of choice at the moment, so it’ll be a fun accessory for her room. Total cost: $.50
My daughter really wants a new lunchbox (even though she doesn’t need one). When I found this one at a church sale for a quarter, I decided to indulge her. It’s brand new and very girly, so it should meet her criteria.
I also turned an oatmeal container into a holder for her headbands. It’s based on designs that I saw on Pinterest. Total cost: $.50 for a candlestick holder
And to round out their gifts, we have a few shared items:
A Kindle was the top item on both of their lists this year. Since we try to limit device time, we decided to buy one for the family to share. Amazon ran a short-term promotion where they were offering $40 off Kindles, including the $69 E Ink. I grabbed one. Then, applied some Amazon credits that I had in my account to bring the total down to just $12! Pretty sweet!
Then, better still, I found a Kindle cover in a clearance bin at Office Depot. It was marked down to $3, and I had enough Office Depot rewards to cover it.
This Croods DVD was selling for $17.99 at Target, but I priced-matched a flash sale at Amazon and used a $5 coupon to bring the price down to $2.48! This will be a nice edition to our family library.
Art supplies tend to be community property in our house, some we’ll be surprising them with a big pad of drawing paper and another of high-quality watercolor paper. I snagged both at a yard sale for $3. They’re not brand new, but they’re still full of paper, and since we just recently snagged a nice set of watercolor pencils on clearance for $5, the timing couldn’t be better.
My mom started a tradition of giving my sisters and I a new pair of pajamas each year on Christmas Eve, and it’s a tradition that’s been carried down.
I picked out these Santa pajama bottoms for my youngest daughter at a Goodwill for $1.99 …
And these reindeer pajama bottoms for my oldest daughter at another Goodwill. They were $1.99, too.
My gifts to my husband are actually pretty simple this year, but they’re perfectly tailored to his interests, so I know he’ll love them. He has the first five Fast & Furious movies (and watches them regularly), so I got the 6th one for his collection. Total cost: $16.99
He’s in definite need of new socks, so I cashed in some of our Coke Rewards for a $25 TJ Maxx card, and used it to buy his socks. I even had some money left over when I was done.
He’s gotten into doing crossword puzzles at lunch, so I picked up another crossword puzzle for him at the Dollar Tree. Cost: $.90
And since he collects all things pizza, I bought this pizza puzzle at a yard sale for $.50.
Now, a peek at the stocking stuffers …
Buy this point in the wrapping process, I was pretty tired, so I cheated a took one picture of all the kids stocking stuffers. They’re each getting a rock crystal growing kit (Dollar Tree), a headband (from my sister), two Lego erasers (Target clearance – $.90), a Girl Scout bracelet and two Girl Scout pencils (part of my free shipping plan I told you about before). My youngest daughter is also getting a monogrammed change purse ($.25 at a yard sale), and my oldest is getting lead refills for her mechanical pencils (free after Staples rewards). Total cost: $2.95
My husband’s stocking received a healthy dose of chocolate and coffee. The Skinny Cow chocolates were free after coupons and all of the coffee was obtained through free sample requests. My mom handles the candy for everyone’s stockings, so there will be a healthy dose of that going into everyone’s stockings, too.
My sister got married recently, and will be moving into her first house soon, so I thought an assortment of candles would make a nice gift. I got the taper candles from Pottery Barn (free after coupon), embellished three pillar candles from Dollar Tree (that project can be found here) and found the brass candle snuffer at an antique store for $4. Total cost: $7
My other sister will be getting this basket of homemade goodies. Since they live in Florida, I made them bug repellent bars, instead of lotion bars, tucked in one of my hand-poured citronella candles and a hand-sewn towel. Total cost: $8.02
Lotions and potions are a big hit with my niece, so I put together this collection of lotion, body spray, soap and nail polish. I got all the Bath & Body Works stuff free after coupon. Ditto for the nail polish. The cosmetic bag was a free-after-rebate item.
This Optimus Prime Transformer sells for $59.99 new. I found it at a thrift store for $1.99, and snatched it up for one of my nephews.
Our oldest nephew has hit that age where he’s hard to buy for. He’s recently started sprouting some whiskers (and is, of course, proud of it), so my husband had the genius idea to give him shaving supplies. He selected this razor set and after-shave from our stock pile. Both items were obtained free after coupon.
Another of our nephews has really gotten into the clarinet. We heard through the family grapevine that he didn’t have a music stand yet, so we snagged this one from a yard sale for a buck.
My newest nephew is just four months old, so I selected these two stuffed animals for him. Someone hand-knit the little lamb, and it’s super adorable. Both were purchased (new) from yard sales for a quarter each.
My one and a half year-old niece will be the recipient of this little doll stroller. One of our neighbors gave it to us after a former tenant moved out. It’s brand new, and ready for action.
Last year, I gave my parents a big box of K-cups that I accumulated through free sample requests. It was such a hit, I decided to do it again this year. I managed to amass 27 cups, plus an ice tea cup that’s designed to fit the machine. Total cost: $0.
I’ll also be giving them a jar of my candied jalapenos. They were made from jalapenos that were given to us, so no cost there. I used a small amount of sugar and vinegar to make them, but the cost is so negligible. I’m going to save myself some math, and call this one free.
This is a print of a painting done by a family member, and I won it at this year’s family reunion. I could tell my mother-in-law really wanted it, so we stashed it in our gift closet until Christmas.
My father-in-law is a big history buff, so we picked these books out for him at yard sales. Total cost: $.50
My in-laws have been very amused with our chickens, so we also gave them a carton of our eggs. It’s labeled, “Merry Christmas from the grandchickens.”
I made lotion bars for my kids to bring to school as teacher’s gifts. Since I recently scored a big bag of beeswax at an estate sale for $10, it currently costs me $.76 to make a bar. Between them, they gave away five bars, so that’s $3.80.
Everyone else we wanted to acknowledge this holiday season received a Christmas card from us. Aren’t these chicken cards a riot? Walgreens was offering 25 cards free, so I pulled one of my favorite chicken photos, and voila! Apparently we’ve made a lot of people laugh, and that’s just what I was going for 🙂
Total cost: $99.70
Read your article this morning and all I could do is sit here and shake my head and say, “She’s amazing.” Love your column, keep it coming.
Thanks, Virginia 🙂
Will you be doing any more “free” or “under $100” Christmas blogs? I just love these, and often find myself re-reading them over again! Very inspirational! Do you still try to go for the $100 Christmas?
Hi Maureen. Yep I still keep our Christmas spending to $100 or less. Maybe I’ll do a post again this year. It’s gotten trickier to do now that the kids are older. I’m always afraid they’ll peek 🙂 I’ll just have to warn them against it, so we can still have our fun.
Awesome 🙂 I look forward to it!